Spotlight on Val-des-Monts’ water monitoring program

When it comes to protecting waterways, community-based water monitoring is often just one piece of an incredible ecosystem of actions. So, we’re recruiting people who can help us deepen our knowledge and bring us new ideas. They’re community champions, data experts, scientists, knowledge holders, and more. Join us as we learn from these experts and deepen our knowledge of the monitoring ecosystem!

The Municipality of Val-des-Monts, located a short drive North-East of the Ottawa-Gatineau region, is home to over 125 lakes and a dedicated population who care deeply about preserving the health of their local water bodies.

Following the adoption of the Water Master Plan on May 5, 2020, the Municipality of Val-des-Monts began monitoring water quality in May 2021, and it seemed only natural for them to involve the residents in their efforts. The first of two phases started in 2021. Initially, 47 lakes were targeted based on the anthropogenic forces to which they are subject. These forces include residential development, the presence of roads, and the proximity of agricultural land.

Claire Michel-Sirois, a volunteer in the program, carrying her Water Rangers testkit.
Claire Michel-Sirois, a volunteer in the program, carrying her Water Rangers testkit.

In the fall of 2022, Water Rangers teamed with Val-des-Monts to help improve their program. Together, we designed a custom guide that included instructions on how to collect water samples to be sent to the lab and how to use Water Rangers tools to get results right away in the field. Each sampling season includes 3 lab surveys for dissolved organic carbon, chlorophyll A, and phosphorous, in June, July, and August. The volunteers are encouraged to do tests with the Water Rangers equipment more often. Together, the lab and the Water Rangers tests help determine where in the eutrophication process the lakes are and provide baseline water quality data.

Data management and sharing is important to the Municipality of Val-des-Monts. That’s why they chose to share their data on our platform. They uploaded historical data from the program, trained volunteers to share their data to the platform, and quickly uploaded lab results when they received them. It was important to Samantha (Environmental Executive for the Municipality of Val-des-Monts) that the volunteers’ work was recognized and amplified. That’s why she also chose to share the data that was on our platform with DataStream. This ensures that the data collected is visible to more people and that the work of the volunteers is further recognized.

As Natalie Lavigne, a volunteer in the water monitoring program, explains in the video, the quality of life of lake dwellers is closely linked to the health of the lakes, that’s why it’s important to better understand the health of water. Samantha hopes that findings from the program will help guide the Municipality’s actions in the future to preserve the lakes of Val-des-Monts.

To find out more about the Municipality’s program, you can visit their website. If you’d like to find out more about how our water monitoring programs can support the work of municipalities, find out more here.